Accountability in teaching with technology

I was just reflecting on Ann’s comment on my last post about using the internet with children and it came ot me that about a year ago there was an incident. A primary school teacher had her kids go to the computer and there were sexually explicit pictures on the screen. The kids went home and told their parents, of course. The result was that this teacher, sho was in no way to blame (it was the school filter, I believe) was accused of wrong-doing, and if I remember correctly, taken to court. I lost the thread, so I don’t know the outcome, but I was pretty taken by the events.

If anyone remembers or can find the link, please leave a comment.

Social media = open media

Sarah mentioned on her blog the following:

Social Media is not part of my culture. To me, it only makes sense when I am participating in a closed environment where I know people – like in this class. The start and stop times, and the built-in time and place to get to know each other makes a difference for me. The concept of joining an ongoing conversation and social group is not something I am comfortable with…yet.

I am well aware of this feeling and it is certainly for each person to decide for themselves. I have also gone through this stage, and perhaps I am now not cautious enough about my presence on the internet. A lot of what I do has to do with trust in others who are also using these tools. Of course, you also have to be aware that everyting you say is documented and can be called up. This must have implications. I would say that this kind of openness can also promote politeness and a more selective choice of expressions.

When using these tools with younger pupils, this is also a topic that needs to be addressed. It is not something the youth worries about, and yet, it is an essential part of training, and I believe strongly that this is our jobs as educators.  They are most certainly unaware of the possible problems that an unreflected statement can have in their later lives.

On being social and resolutions

This year my resolution is to help the school in a small village in Zimbabwe. A friend of mine from ETAS began a project to train teachers of the Matopo primary school and collect materials for this poor school. I was so moved by her dedication that I couldn’t help but want to contribute. The first contribution was the opening of the Matopo primary school blog. For every time this site is looked at, money from the advertisements will be sent to an account and then to the school.

However, this seems like dishearteningly little  compared to the need of the children. Therefore, I would like to get teachers using this project as a chance to offer their students a real purpose for using English, and at the same time collect materials for Matopo (see also etasblog). I think that much could be done for the needy in the world, and isn’t this also a way to be social?

It is clear to me that many other places in the world are in similar situations, and perhaps you, treasured reader, happen to know of such a project. Then I’d like to encourage you to start a similar project. In k-12 classes pupils learn about basic needs, other parts of the world and ethics. They see that the language they are learning can be put to use for a purpose, making the language come to life. At the same time another group of learners profit from basic school materials which they would otherwise have to do without. Paper, pencils, erasers, markers, pens, small blackboards, chalk. But if you look even further, then the vision grows as money is collected for laptops. Social awareness is not just a word. It is an action. I hope this post will inspire others of you to take part in a worthy cause, where ever you are.

EVO 08 Kick-off

This evening was the great EVO 08 kick-off where the different groups presented themsleves. I must say I was awestruck by the number of participants in the chatroom, and even more so by the number of listeners on ustream, listening to it live. The number of listeners never went much under 100 at any given time. And despite the technical difficulties (oh, what would we ever do in a perfect world without technical difficulties!?) there was a great feeling of belonging and excitement.

Now SMiELT is about to get rolling, with the colors in place (thank you Rudolf 🙂 ), game chairs ready, and people already getting to know or re-introduce themselves. I’m certainly excited too.

So, let the show begin!!